Late

It's about 2am and I'm just settling in for the night. It's a pattern that develops when I work overnight shifts at work. I get home around 2:30am and sleep most of the next morning/afternoon.

I didn't work today but I'm awake. I feel anxious; I feel antsy. I need to take a step and I have many different ones in my mind. But I'm not sure where to go.

100 new job – full time, benefits, works.
Part time substitute teach – make myself available a few days a week.
Maybe weekend waitress, while back at school – focus unknown.

(I should tell you at this point in writing this I have no idea if I will post it or not.)

I can't settle my brain enough, and I know it's my fear and ego mind talking. I recognize this. I've been trained to work against this. But I somehow can't seem to find the peace and wisdom I deserve.

Things are very stressful. My sister is getting married and my sister in law just had a baby! There are events going on at work that make it difficult to have a good attitude there.

I know I can change how I view things in my life. I know I can choose to see the difficulties as blessings on the way to a better place. For some reason I can't let myself allow the universe to work. I feel myself blocking it.

And I have to do something about it.

On the FAM front, my cycles are very long, it's taking 2 months at this point. I had this issue when I was in college. But my inner blocks are could also be having an affect, seeing as its why I haven't been updating my experience.

This read more like a diary, but I'm ok with it. I can be the only one who deals with spiritual blocks.

Start: Week 1 – Bye Bye, Birth Control

The reactions that I have received in telling a few close friends about stopping my birth control are ones that I expected. Most hovered in the area of “well you need to go to the doctor you can’t just stop” and “aw you’ll be the next one pregnant!”. While neither of those are necessarily true, they do have some resonance.

Can I just stop taking my pills? I took my last “real” pill yesterday and I’m on my final placebo week. Of course I have been doing research and watching videos of others’ experiences coming off hormonal birth control. Truthfully, I don’t really want to go back to my doctor (I actually use Planned Parenthood at the moment), because I don’t want them to say “oh lets try another pill we can find one that’s right for you.” So yes, I can stop taking my pill. Will I have side effects from the lack of those particular hormones? Quite possibly. My body has been altered so much by these fake hormones that I don’t know what could happen. But I still believe that our bodies have the ability to heal themselves as long as we treat them right.

I shouldn’t have to go through horrible symptoms and trials and errors to find birth control that works for me. Men, grab a condom and you’re good for pregnancy AND STD’s. We have it a little bit harder. I should be able to find a reliable, safe, natural method of birth control that I can use that doesn’t make me crazy! I already have depression and anxiety – and I truly believe since starting hormonal birth control both have become exponentially worse.

I feel like I have lost a big lust for life. Yes, my sex drive is also down so that “lusty” part is also a struggle. But in general, I have become duller. I lack motivation in the morning when I have plenty to do – even today, with this blog post on my to-do list, I rolled around in bed for almost 3 hours before starting it. Sure, I was up and down. I had some toast, popped my vitamins, and called my mom. Still, there’s something missing. I feel almost numb, the way I was before I got on my anti-depressant (yes I am for natural methods of medication but my anti-depressant literally saved my life. I’m working on getting off of it slowly but right now it is something that keeps me functioning – balance!).

I’ve received my copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility and I’m absorbing it all. I just wish I could shove it in my friends faces sometimes. I want to say “this is different, but not. It is new, but it’s old. And I can do it and make it work”. But that might take a while.

This week is almost a prep week – I’ll have my “period” probably Tuesday thru Thursday and then hopefully my body will begin to try and balance itself out.

Questions, comments, concerns? I’d love your feedback and/or advice on transitioning into FAM. Do you think I’m moving too fast? Why? Still skeptical? – Tell me your concerns. Knowledge is power – who says we can’t learn together!?

xx

Hauntings

I was sick last weekend – awful. I was nauseated at work on Saturday, and when I got home I went to bed early. During the middle of the night I woke up and spent the next 2 hours vomiting. Sunday wasn’t much better as my stomach still wasn’t settled. Even on Monday, I wasn’t completely better. In fact, all week my stomach has been off. I chalked it up to anxiety over something. And today I’m better, but some foods still make my stomach turn.

I’m getting to my point. I didn’t feel up to much this week. Between being sick and the onset of my period, I haven’t been to yoga once. I practiced at home on Wednesday morning, but that’s about it. I also haven’t been eating well – in quality or quantity. So needless to say, I feel kind of crummy! It’s incredible how good, whole food can make you feel so wonderful. But right now – the thought of it makes me want to ralph. My mom made this cauliflower quinoa risotto dish that I usually LOVE. But just looking at it grosses me out. And it sucks.

So I went to Rhode Island yesterday for a quick visit to my old work, and my old church for the Maundy Thursday service. After the service I was saying my goodbyes and my good friend says to me “Are you eating?”. And I kind of laughed. I could honestly say “Yes I’m eating, but I did lose weight.” I’ve been home, practicing yoga regularly, walking, hiking with friends, eating clean about 85-90% of the time. But in the last 2 months I have lost about 10 pounds – without thinking about it. I knew when I moved home that I was heavier than I wanted to be, because my clothes weren’t fitting. But it wasn’t until I went to the gynecologist last month that I realized I was losing weight. 

And I had a flashback. To high school, to college. When this question used to be desired, but also dreaded. If they asked, they noticed I was losing weight. But if they asked that also meant they might have noticed that I wasn’t eating. And I was flooded with out of nowhere anxiety on the drive home. Am I ok? Am I going to fall back into my old habits? Is everyone going to think I have an eating disorder again? I knew all these thoughts were ridiculous but I couldn’t shake them.

I tried to laugh it off to myself. But I couldn’t help but be filled with stomach churning anxiety on the subject. Totally unwarranted. Seeing as I’m the one who is in control of my life. My EDNOS doesn’t control me anymore. It doesn’t dictate what I eat, how I feel, who I’m good enough for. I’m the only one who can decide these things.  I guess sometimes we all just need a little reminder. Nobody can make you feel anything you don’t want to feel. You are the only one who controls your reactions to situations. Sometimes it’s hard.

Sometimes you have feelings you think you can’t control – depression, anxiety. Sometimes you have feelings for a person that you think are so strong they could never go away – even if they aren’t reciprocated. But they’ll fade. If you let them go. If you surrender to happiness and health and well being you’ll find peace in yourself. I truly believe that.

Happy Good Friday & Have a BEAUTIFUL day!

Don’t Drive Yourself to the Breaking Point

Okay, it’s no secret that I really enjoy Nutella. And ice cream. And pudding. And pancakes. And friend dough at the fair. I love all of these things with a steamy, hot, melting passion. And I will never give them up for anything – unless I developed some allergy that was really life threatening. 

But if you know me at all, you also know I LOVE eating food on the healthier side. I eat a lot of vegetarian and vegan options – although I am neither. I love eating fresh organic fruits and veggies and the nutty, seedy taste of whole grain breads. I’m very anti-packaging and processed foods and I like to know what I’m putting in my body.

I also love yoga. I love walking and hiking. I love dancing. I’ll even do a little kick-boxing if I’m feeling adventurous. But I hate, hate, hate, the fitness world on the internet.

As someone who struggled with eating disorders, I’m no stranger to the world of “thinspo” and “pro-ana/mia” websites. And now that’s kind of bled into the “fitspo” side of things. Guess what? It’s just as bad. Showing a picture of a naturally thin girl with a toned, flat stomach who probably has an extremely fast metabolism and is 15 years old, and adding the caption “perfect stomach” is NOT what I think should be inspiration of any kind. My body will never look like that. I have natural curves to my hips and a natural layer of fat on my stomach that just doesn’t go away. And you know what, I really don’t feel the need for major abs. I’m twenty-two years old. I may be having kids in the next 10 years and I want that protection for my baby (did you know that women actually have that special layer that many women call a “pooch” specifically for that reason?). 

Regardless of the future of my motherhood, I don’t think these types of pictures are sending a good message. It’s telling girls that not only is THAT image beautiful and desirable, but that it’s “fit” and “healthy”. When you don’t know what’s going on in that girl’s body. She could do hundreds of crunches a day to get those abs but eat junk or not eat at all. You don’t know what her lifestyle is like, her hormone levels, her vitamin levels, her internal health. Hell, her emotional and mental health could be out of whack too.

We have to remember, as women, to support one another in emphasizing and advancing the importance of WHOLE HEALTH. Not just how toned your stomach is, but how you feel when you wake up in the morning. How you relate to your friends, if you feel alive on a day to day basis and appreciate all that your body does, not just what it looks like or is “supposed” to look like. 

So I’ll leave you with some “fitspo”: How do you feel, inside, after eating that healthy breakfast and going for a calming walk or sweating it out at the gym? Good? Don’t look in the mirror. Don’t obsesses over those little pieces you don’t like about yourself. DO YOU FEEL GOOD? 

 

Have a beautiful day, xx.

PERIOD POSITIVITY – the basics!

Okay, so there is this HUGE thing in my life right now and it’s being PERIOD POSITIVE. This is going to cover the basics of why it’s great to be period positive and why it’s amazing to really get in touch with ourselves as women. It’s kind of the bare bones so you may know a lot of this information if you consider yourself period positive in any way! 

And since I’m supposed to start my period in the next 4 days (I’m a bit irregular), I figured, what better time than now to put this to the public?

It’s no secret that the female menstruation cycle is filled with jokes and pain and frustration and, unfortunately, embarrassment. But you know what I’ve discovered – along with many other women? It doesn’t have to be that way. Your period can become another part of your life that you’re completely accustomed to, and fairly comfortable with. There are ways to lessen the strain on your wallet and your conscience. Now all of this isn’t foolproof and I am by no means licensed to give our health information. Take suggestions from what I say and talk to your doctor to figure out what might work for you. 

As you can imagine, I’m very anti-medicine, synthetic, etc. I don’t like chemicals on, in, or around my body when it can be helped. And that especially goes for sensitive, self-caring areas such as my genitals. 

Here’s the scenario: you’re on your period and you just got your period before you left for work/class/what have you. Well guess what? You underestimated your flow this month and you’re probably going to leak through your tampon or pad if you don’t get to the restroom RIGHT NOW. You dig around in your bag discreetly to make sure you have supplies, and you take your (probably) giant purse or backpack, etc toward the restroom. Well, make sure you have that tampon or pad hidden because, ew, nobody wants to know or think about you on your period, right? That’s gross. 

I’m not sure if you know this, but your vagina actually works really hard. You don’t need to do much to keep it happy outside of healthy eating, activity, and cleanliness (and in ‘cleanliness’ I’m including using condoms and getting tested when sexually active). Your body naturally cleans itself from the inside in the form of discharge, and that pubic hair you like to shave off to make things more “aesthetically pleasing” for your partner? It keeps out bacteria and other nasties that will try to worm their way inside of you and cause trouble for your lady parts. 

So where am I getting to with all this boring stuff? That your vagina isn’t really as…gross as people make it out to be. It’s actually very clean. And that blood that comes out every month? Well, it’s been sitting inside of you for weeks and you still haven’t died yet, right? 

Here’s where we begin to talk about POSITIVITY! It’s about being a-okay with your period. It’s about knowing what you have to do to take care of yourself and to STOP being ashamed every time you have to take care of something totally natural. YOU HAVE THE CAPACITY TO CREATE LIFE INSIDE YOUR BELLY. You should be being worshipped for that. Did you know that there are still some cultures that send women away, not to hide them or shame them, but to let them REST and be comfortable during their cycle?

So step one of my period positive checklist? Self-Care. Practice self care during your period (and other days as well). Take an extra long shower or bath if it comforts you. Eat really, really well and keep hydrated. Sleep if you’re exhausted and need an extra nap. Tap into yourself and listen to your body. It knows what’s up and if you pay attention, it will tell you what you need. That greasy fast food you’re craving? Probably not going to make you feel like a superstar – try to figure out what about it you’re craving and substitute it for something similar. Is it the salty potato of fries? Do sweet potato fries at home with coarse sea salt for extra vitamins and way less fat that won’t make you feel MORE bloated than you already are. 

Step 2: care for the world. One of the greatest things I like to do with my period is being environmentally conscious. This isn’t for everyone, but there IS an option for everyone if you’d like to look into it. I recently switched completely off disposable menstrual products and am I loyal user of the Diva Cup. I no longer spend $15-$20 each month for tampons and pads. I paid $40 for a product that will last me 5 years AND lessen my footprint on the earth. No more wrappers, no more waste. And NO MORE DRY PULLING (tampons not only absorb menstrual fluid, but they also absorb ALL the other fluid in your vagina that keep it clean and moist. Pulling those suckers out dry is no fun). If you’re used to pads, research reusable pads. They’re soft, comfortable and easy to use as disposables. For me, knowing that I’m helping the planet (and my wallet) makes my period easier. 

Step 3: Get in touch with your cycle. Both literally and figuratively. Figuratively, chart your cycle. There are amazing phone apps and calendars for you to keep track these days. You can include your moods, flow level, food cravings, and other symptoms. It is also great for family planning. If you’re of the age where you’re thinking about children, charting your cycle can help you to recognize when your most fertile days are so you can get pregnant on YOUR terms. As far as the literal part goes – STOP BEING AFRAID OF MENSTRUAL BLOOD. I know it’s hard because I used to be grossed out by it too. But it’s really not going to kill you. It doesn’t kill crops or make men blind. It’s just the leftovers since you decided you didn’t want a baby. As someone who uses a menstrual cup, I have quite a bit of contact with myself in that way. It ain’t no thang. I wash my hands well before and after removing and inserting the cup (ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS) and then I get on my merry way. Nobody knows any different. And it’s none of their business but they shouldn’t care. I washed my hands. I’m clean, okay?

Step 4: manage pain. This is a big one. The pain. The headaches, backaches, cramps, bloating, OH MY! For several years I’ve been very irregular, sometimes going 6 months without getting my period. Even now my cycle ranges from 32-45 days – though healthy eating and regular walking/yoga have helped level me out. But no matter what I’ve always had really brutal physical symptoms. Not to mention the depression, fatigue, ugh. And I used to just pop Midol all the time. And there is probably a time and a place for that. But I don’t like painkillers. Instead of fixing the cause, they dull the receptors in your brain so you don’t think you’re in pain. As much as it’s tempting, try heating pads or hot water bottles – this method actually relaxes your pelvic and uterine muscles which are in the middle of SPASMS to release the blood and helps to relieve pain that way. One of my favorite mood lifters? Dark chocolate. At least 75% (preferably 85). The chocolate will help your endorphin levels rise and keep you from falling too deep into the doom-and-gloom of your cycle. And don’t forget about tea! Even in the summer I drink a TON of hot tea for my period. Chamomile is really soothing before bed. I drink green tea regularly to keep myself from getting lethargic. And I love trying out different teas created specifically for a woman’s cycle. Usually these have a base of raspberry leaf so if you’re able to find or make your own – start there. 

 

This is how I started to become period positive. I’m not 100% there yet, but with each cycle I get a little closer. I know what’s coming and how I’m going to take care of myself. Just remember, ignore the negativity! It’s NOT a curse and it DOESN’T have to be hidden. It’s empowering and it’s natural and it keeps humans on earth. 

 

Have a BEAUTIFUL day. xx

When Life Gets in the way of Life

Hi all, how have you been?

 

I’ve been CRAZY the last six or seven months. I wrapped up another semester of school, as well as a summer class. I’ve had pitfalls and heartbreaks and epiphanies galore. But most importantly, I’ve missed blogging. I’ve missed having a public forum to reach out to. Another part of this communication that I like is the integration of the internet. Now, when I’m not in class or at work I’m usually online doing something. I love learning and exploring and one of the best ways to do that these days is the internet.

Now I hear you asking, “But Ellen, you seem so disconnected from technology and all about being in tune with the world and your inner-self, how can you do both?”

Oh, dear readers, it is difficult, but I’m going to keep on exploring it until I get it right. And this is just the beginning.

 

xx,

E

Things I’m working on for the New Year on the Blog!

Hey guys, I know yesterday was quite a downer so I just wanted to quickly check in with some things I really want to push forward as we move through into 2013! I’m really excited for what I’ve got planned and I can’t wait to get things going. 

First, book reviews. I’ll be doing my best to do a book review (two if I have time) a month. These may be novels, self-help, or inspirational books. I have one already set for January, and you’ll hear more about that in the coming weeks. 

I also want to really focus on doing at least three longer posts a week, and keep you all motivated and inspired with the quotes I throw in as I come upon them. But I need your help, too! If you want to support me, please drop a comment on this post and let me know what you’d like to see more of on the blog. Is there a topic you want me to address? Do you want my opinion on an even, or just have a question about how I’ve handled things in my past? OR, is there a book you’d like to ask my opinion on…you’re not sure if you want to invest and perhaps I’ve taken a look? Do you want more inspiration, more spirituality, more food and physical health posts? Let me know, I’m here for YOU.

Have a beautiful day, xx.